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How to get an academic job October 16, 2008 Jeff Mc. Donnell Dept. of How to get an academic job October 16, 2008 Jeff Mc. Donnell Dept. of Forest Engineering, Resources and Management

Outline • Ph. D as a launching pad • Why Post Docs are so Outline • Ph. D as a launching pad • Why Post Docs are so helpful • The ad, the letter, CV (and teaching statement) • The academic interview • Negotiating the job

Ph. D as the launching pad • What you do in the Ph. D Ph. D as the launching pad • What you do in the Ph. D determines your potential success in the academic job market • Not uncommon to have 100 applicants to an academic job (e. g. WSU) • What can you do to set yourself apart from the rest? • How you can be viewed as a colleague rather than a student

Know this • The field is controlled by <100 key people (maybe a dozen Know this • The field is controlled by <100 key people (maybe a dozen in your research area). – Get to know a good number of them • Become entrained in professional practice as a student • Conferences and workshops (especially) • Travel to other key groups • Put impressive plots and ideas in front of key people • Organize a special session • Participate on professional committees • Write conference reports • Apply for every possible award (AGU Horton, AAG Nystrom, IAHS Tison, etc)

Ph. D Papers • It’s all about the papers (it’s your portable currency) • Ph. D Papers • It’s all about the papers (it’s your portable currency) • Publish your MS work! • Write Ph. D papers sequentially and submit as they are finished (so simple yet so seldom done) • Consider writing a review paper as part of your set of Ph. D papers (can yield very high citation stats) • Publish in the best journals possible where work will be recognized and read • Develop a Ph. D brand identity • Do comment/reply on something recently published • Be careful about special issues

Ph. D epiphanies that translate to academic job success • Creativity is more important Ph. D epiphanies that translate to academic job success • Creativity is more important than knowledge • Mentoring is very important • Time management is everything – Don’t be a busy fool – Your daily “to do” list (a la Fred Prior) – Write in the morning…every morning • The focus-hard work connection • Love what you are doing – The only way all this is sustainable

The post doc • An apprenticeship in an academic workshop • A time to The post doc • An apprenticeship in an academic workshop • A time to crank without distraction • Your career launching pad an opportunity to build up your academic resume and experience (i. e. papers) to compete successfully for an academic position • Your transition time from worker bee to idea generator • The best pathway to long term career success—early rapid rise is everything

The post doc Big questions: • Should I always take a Post Doc over The post doc Big questions: • Should I always take a Post Doc over an Assistant Professor position? • Should I consider a post docs at a gov’t lab, in industry or in another country? • Post doc collaboration: How should I manage it? • Should a post doc teach? • Should I get involved with applied research ? • Should I do post doc work that is unrelated to my Ph. D topic?

How to get a post doc • Network as a Ph. D student • How to get a post doc • Network as a Ph. D student • Most post docs not advertised! – Word of mouth is everything • What to look for in a Post Doc advisor – Someone who has had other post docs – Someone senior enough to get you launched – A networker, supporter, collaborator, colleague • Some horror stories (with names changed to protect the innocent) • Some success stories

The Post Doc – P & T Connection remember the UGA guidelines • If The Post Doc – P & T Connection remember the UGA guidelines • If 3 papers per year is deemed excellent for a 50% research appointment, then…. • In the post doc learn the topdown approach to paper writing • Collaborate with your advisor – He/she intro/discussion, you the meat of the methods and analysis/results…. • Work on topics at the interface between your two worlds • Start as you mean to continue – Engage your advisor as a colleague…. . not as a student

Be careful • Don’t let the academic job hunt distract you from your output Be careful • Don’t let the academic job hunt distract you from your output – Keep post doc advisor in the loop • Show commitment to the post doc work (and an early departure ok) • Additional year(s) of support will be directly proportional to output Don Siegel

The academic job a current ad About the position The Department of Geosciences, at The academic job a current ad About the position The Department of Geosciences, at the University of Montana, invites applications for a tenure-track Assistant Professor position in Watershed Hydrology beginning in August 2009. We seek a scientist with expertise in hydrologic processes, including surface water, groundwater, and their interactions. We are especially interested in candidates focusing on physical processes affecting watersheds at multiple scales, including specific expertise focusing on physical, geomorphic, spatial/temporal scaling and mathematical characterization of physical hydrologic processes in mountainous regions. We seek candidates who will: establish a vigorous externally funded research program; teach courses in their area of specialization as well as introductory courses; advise and mentor students from the undergraduate to Ph. D. levels; and integrate with the University's programs in river and aquatic science across disciplines. Qualifications Applicants must have a Ph. D. in a geoscience, civil engineering, or a closely related field at the time of appointment, a record of peer-reviewed publication appropriate to career stage, evidence of excellence in teaching or the ability to develop into an excellent teacher, a record of or strong potential for obtaining research funding, and modeling and quantitative skills. Application Information Please submit 1) a curriculum vita; 2) a cover letter that includes a summary of your interest in the position, a description of your specific research interests, and a statement about your interests, philosophy, and qualifications related to teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels; 3) electronic copies of up to three of your recently published articles, and 4) contact information for four references to: Chair, Hydrology Position Department of Geosciences The University of Montana 32 Campus Drive Missoula, Mt 59812 Key points in your letter! The position is open until filled, but review of applications will begin by November 15, 2008; all materials should be filed by that date. For more information, please visit: http: //www. umt. edu/jobs/employment 2. html#academic

The Letter. • Say WHY you are interested in the position. • Say what The Letter. • Say WHY you are interested in the position. • Say what YOU can bring to the Department. Indicate that you are familiar with research of faculty. • Say why YOU should be an interesting person to them. • About one-page long. . . remember the committee members will have 100 to wade through! – Looking for ways to throw out applicants to whittle down the pile – Will look for papers first Don Siegel

Not this (A typical example. . . ) • “I wish to be considered Not this (A typical example. . . ) • “I wish to be considered for the Assistant Professor position at Oregon State and which was advertised by your Department in Science. • I have just completed my Ph. D. under Prof. Don Siegel at SU and feel I fit the job description very well. I can teach hydrogeology and am interested in geochemical processes in wetlands. • I look forward to hearing from you soon. Enclosed is my vita for your consideration. . ” ". . . Would you like fries with that burger, sir? " Don Siegel

The CV • It should be tailored to the job (always) • It should The CV • It should be tailored to the job (always) • It should NOT have a statement indicating what you are searching for in a job--this can be DEATH! – Because most University Faculties Haven't a Clue What They Want! • Sections should be clearly isolated from each other • It should be spel- checked. !!!! Over and over again…. • Include papers in print, in press and in review. Be careful on papers “in prep”…… • Separate abstracts from papers! • All: Include service work, lectures given, any salient job experience and SKILLS (exaggerate a little). • Modified after Don Siegel

Sometimes a committee will be objective Sometimes a committee will be objective

The academic interview – A personality contest – The seminar: not an AGU talk! The academic interview – A personality contest – The seminar: not an AGU talk! – What are the people who interview you looking for? – Be ready for point blank questions: • What are the first 3 NSF proposal topics that you would write? • How much start-up money do you need? • How much space do you need? • What would your first few graduate students work on?

Other questions …that I have had—I’m not making this up! • “so, Jeff, who’s Other questions …that I have had—I’m not making this up! • “so, Jeff, who’s your hero”? • “what book are you currently reading”? • “what do you think about clear-cut logging”? • “why on earth would you want to come here”? • “what do you bring to this position”? • “what is the future of watershed hydrology”? • “what will be the topic of your first NSF proposal>

Specific Questions asked at The Academic Interview by Individual Faculty Don Siegel’s take on Specific Questions asked at The Academic Interview by Individual Faculty Don Siegel’s take on this • Here is what I do, what do you think? – (. . What can you do for ME ME ME. ) • What computer software do you use? – (. . So I can see if you can help ME ME ME and see if you are not biased against my favorite operating system). • What do you do? – (Hell, I haven't had the time to read your CV to find out. ) • YOU take control and start asking questions first!!! – "Hi Big Poobah, I'm delighted to meet you. Podunk University seems to be a very nice place. Do most faculty live near campus? " From Don Siegel

The academic interview • Be able to explain (and excite) a colleague with your The academic interview • Be able to explain (and excite) a colleague with your research – This is difficult but critical • Hone your 1 min; 5 min and 10 min version of this (think elevator speech) – Be able to cast in an applied way also • Be able to define your brand identify • ½ your seminar, ½ your social skills throughout the 2 -day interview • Two simple things: enthusiasm and confidence

The schedule Day 1 • 7: 30 am Breakfast with the search committee chair The schedule Day 1 • 7: 30 am Breakfast with the search committee chair – What is this person like? • 8: 30 -9: 00 Meet with the Department Head – Hmm, can I see them teaching a class? how would our students react to him/her? • 9 -10 am Meet with the search committee • • – Each one thinking of how you will service their career ambitions 10 -10: 30 Faculty member x 10: 30 -11 Faculty member y 11 -11: 30 Faculty member z 11: 30 -1 pm Interactions and lunch with the grad students (this will matter and get back to committee) 1 -2: 00 pm Tour of the facilities 2 -3 pm Your seminar 4 -5 pm Meet with the office staff (CRITICAL) 5 -9 pm Drinks and dinner with someone from the search committee and others

The schedule • • • Day 2 7: 30 am Breakfast with someone from The schedule • • • Day 2 7: 30 am Breakfast with someone from the committee 8: 30 -9: 00 Meet with the Dean Repeat of the madness of Day 1 …………… 4 -5 pm Meet with the search committee for wrap-up and questions It’s a marathon! Be ready Impress everyone! – Administrators – Graduate students – Faculty – Committee How do you do this? – Talk, ask questions, be enthusiastic, train like an athlete for this grueling endurance test Remember, if you get an interview, it is your job to lose

The seminar • Not an AGU talk! • As little jargon as possible • The seminar • Not an AGU talk! • As little jargon as possible • Place the work in the big picture (see filmed talk by on Hydrophiles site by Christina Tague…. . a near-perfect talk) • A strong teaching component (broad audience) • Typical – 45 minute talk (= 45 slides max!) – 15 minute questions • Know how to answer questions (take the Ronald Reagan approach if necessary) • Project enthusiasm and confidence…. . did I mention enthusiasm and confidence…. . ? • Be articulate – E. g. pronounce your “ing’s”, “yes” not “yeah”, avoid “ums”, work on this beforehand! • Spend time on what you will do next (and tailor to the ad and specific geography of the university/region)

Social Time. . YOU must SPEAK words of wisdom by Don Siegel • I Social Time. . YOU must SPEAK words of wisdom by Don Siegel • I really like this food. Is it catered from Arby’s? • I note the artwork on the walls. Do you have painted black velvet? • Podunk seems like a quiet city--where do they store the sidewalks at night? • I notice you have a few kids. I hate kids. • I notice that hairy head on the wall. Is that your mother-in -law? • Will I be able to go to conferences and present papers? --for free? • Do I get to park next to my building? From Don Siegel

Negotiables • • Salary Start-up Lab space Teaching load – And phasing in of Negotiables • • Salary Start-up Lab space Teaching load – And phasing in of courses • Student support – Salary, start-up, teaching, lab space, student support, summer salary • The two body issue • Who has the money and power to make decisions?

How to negotiate • You are in the power position • You will never How to negotiate • You are in the power position • You will never have this power again! • Know how to balance demands and how to concede certain negotiation points • Use the right tone • Have your facts straight and details in hand (names) – Salary and start-up comparables • Know about (and be sensitive to) compression salary

A typical example They offer • $58 K for 9 mo • $150 K A typical example They offer • $58 K for 9 mo • $150 K start-up • Teaching to start upon arrival • – u/g course first semester – u/g and grad second semester You counter (for example) • $65 K for 9 mo – Cite people you know at other schools at this rate – Quote latest Chronicle stats • $200 K start-up • Ask for phased in teaching • Explore summer salary coverage in years 1 and 2 Cast all of this in terms of you hitting the ground running, seed money/support, early grant success, be coy A cool lab • – Use itemized list – Speak in terms of seed money – Nothing first semester They may have no ability to negotiate salary or start-up…. . if not, then look for other consolations (student support, lab space incr. , etc)

A word on teaching • They will likely have a course or two that A word on teaching • They will likely have a course or two that needs to be taught • You should have an idea of a course or two that you would like to introduce • Go for absolute minimum teaching possible (you can always incr. later) • You will need to excel in teaching…. it is what pays the bills • Teaching comes from the heart – Teach with boundless enthusiasm • Key skill is being comfortable speaking extemporaneously

Wrap-up • Ph. D is the launching pad • Post Docs are so helpful Wrap-up • Ph. D is the launching pad • Post Docs are so helpful • The ad, the letter, the CV (and teaching statement) are critical to ensure an interview • The academic interview: your job to lose • Negotiating the job: you have the power